Focal developer proves Nexus 5 can have always on ‘Google Now’

Moto X is known for many things like its customizability. But another striking feature, which is actually exclusive to Motorola devices only, is the Touchless Control App. The app allows its user to control their smartphone with just voice commands, without the need for any manual touch. This particular feature has actually helped the device gain popularity among Android fans, but a developer just recently proved that ‘always on’ Google Now for Nexus 5 too is a possibility.

Moto X comes with a unique feature which can listen to voice commands even when the display is sleeping. Therefore, the smartphone can open up apps, and do a lot of other stuff with the help of voice commands. Many companies have even tried imitating this feature, including Samsung (with S Voice); however it’s not as battery efficient as Moto X.

But Guillaume Lesniak may have found a way to implement this low power consuming feature on Nexus 5. The developer known for his Focal App, which was previously used in Cyanogenmod Roms, proved that Google’s Nexus 5 smartphone could also come with always listening Google Now feature. According to the developer, the key to activating this function was Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 800 processor.

Guillaume made a few tweaks in the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 chipset’s audio chain which helped him achieve this feat. Given that only the dedicated audio processing unit of the chipset is always listening and the actual CPU is off, the battery drain won’t be that significant. Unfortunately, he says that the feature is still unstable and also cannot be published due to several licensing redistributions restrictions. So, unless Qualcomm allows him to make changes to their processor’s audio chain, he cannot release the tweak publicly.

He explained all this in a blog post on Google Plus.

“The hardware is there and the software is capable of handling it. It’s far from being stable, and not releaseable in the current state (for various reasons). This is only just a proof-of-concept to show that it’s possible,” said Guillaume in the post.

While the tweak is still unreleasable, it proves that even Nexus 5 can support this feature. The good news is, if the method actually works, it can be implemented in all Snapdragon 800 smartphones as it comes with a dedicated audio processor. However, the bad news is, Qualcomm may not allow this to release publicly and its effect on battery life may be much more than expected.
Hopefully, Qualcomm will clear things up in the coming weeks.

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About the author

Joel is an experienced blogger who covers all kinds of news relating to tech. He is a huge fan of Android and can be seen playing around with his phone in his spare time.